tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg December 27, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm EST
♪ just looking for my loving sam ♪ ♪ i can't get him off my brain ♪ >> paramount records was iconic music label in the 20th century, recording some of the biggest names in blues and jazz. a new box set is being released by two men with a passion for music, jack white, a former front man of the white stripes and has a solo album. dean founded the label. i am pleased to have the man at this table to talk about this look back into the history of music. welcome. dean, how did this get started? >> paramount is an inescapable force in this space.
we had put out a lot of recordings over the years, going back to the start of the label in 1995. it seem like you were bumping up against it, either through putting out recordings by charlie patton, one of the kingpins of mississippi delta blues, and was a paramount artist. or through these connections, we had a set by a white banjo player. some of his recordings turned out were pressed by paramount records. although they were on another label. it just seemed like at every turn, paramount reared its head and was irresistible as a force and so jack and i shared a passion for this stuff. >> the music. the point is to give people who
may not know the story and may not know the music or to have the music in one place? >> yeah, there is plenty of labels like columbia that have been around 100 years and they are still around today, they have muscle and money to expose it in a bigger way. paramount is sort of a strange part of the history of record labels but the beautiful part about them is they accidentally captured american culture by wanting to sell record player cabinets. they were a furniture company, and they fell into this by getting a job from the edison company to make cabinets first. and that is what i love about it. my record label has a history in furniture as well.
my upholstery shop. we had a laugh about that. the similarity started to creep into the idea of putting this together, to bring attention to all of these lost gems and these people who recorded one or two records. let's put something together with a massive amount of music. >> it is an ambitious roger. -- project. >> big-time. >> look at the case. >> it is at home on this table. >> it really is at home. >> let's do all of those of phonograph cases. i said let's start with the case to highlight the fact it was a furniture company. they put the badge of the chair company in there. that was one of the first design components. we kicked it off from there. >> what was the business model? >> as jack said, they started in 1917.
they made some phonograph cabinets for edison. his factory had burned down in orange, new jersey. and they just wanted to sell phonograph cabinets in the records were a necessary evil to them. they took no interest in the music. not in terms of what it sounded like, but even the artist -- >> anybody, anytime, it did not matter. religious, blues, hillbilly, whatever. if it sells 10 copies, let's do it. they did not have knowledge of what was good or bad and they did not have the money. >> blind lemon jefferson. louis armstrong. >> unheard of when they were according for paramount. these were lower grade artists at that time. maybe some of them recorded for the bigger labels afterward. >> what happened to them
afterward? what was their evolution? >> there was a producer at the time that was the link from the paramount business, of white executives to the black artists. he was their link to getting them to come and record and also to sign a, which he was good at. he got the nickname "ink." he could get the ink on the contract. without him, a lot of them would not have been found. he brought them into record. >> this release will capture what paramount was about. for anybody who does not know, this is a sense of, we will give it to you. >> it is the first of a two- volume omnibus telling this
curious tale. this classic curious tale aspect to it. paramount did not intend to do something important as a documentarian or anything like that. they wanted to move units, in the modern parlance. they almost, they almost triumph of themselves. the records were notorious, the sound quality was bad. everything was done on the cheap, recording, pressing, the cheapest materials to make the records. and so you do have to penetrate this gauze of static to hear these gems. >> we sort of made this in a way, let's do everything paramount did not have the money to do or the care to do. of thinking of how important a cultural thing they were capturing. everything they did not have the know-how or the means to do.
>> the way it should have been done. >> gold foil labels, we tried to make it look like chestnut. with the set, we skipped over the cd and we just did vinyl, this is like a portable phonograph case. and this has 800 songs in all of the advertisements that they put out. >> look at this. 800 songs. which is probably one of the biggest set of music of all time, of this area of american culture. what is great is you can sink into this for a long time. you could dig into this on the
way to work. you could spend months delving into all of this material. >> do any of them speak to you? >> the number one artist paramount fell into, is charlie patton. he was basically the great grandfather of all pop music and american music, especially. he seems like an alien to me, somebody who could not have existed. the only photograph of him does not look like a human being to me. that is where we are getting to. this is where paramount started and what they started to do. when we get to charlie patton, he is the savior of this. >> let's take a look at some images. take a look at that. you can see that image. hopefully. the next image is paramount photo images. there you go. this is great. and then celebrating 60 years of the emancipation proclamation.
>> that may seem, what a wonderful thing they were doing, but i have to think they are doing anything they can do to sell records. to rural families. black families. sell record players to them. but here is the beautiful part about this, these are the first times people are allowed to speak their own voice, minorities and women are telling their own stories. i think there is a comparison that could be made about early early given a character, and told be this character and say these lines. that is in film. with none of their own voice. in this scenario, we are going to drop the needle and record. do your thing.
what is your thing? even this ethel waters ad, girl left in cold vows revenge. we do not think of black women being allowed to have revenge. this was used as a selling point. that is a massive amount of freedom. women were given the right to vote a couple of years before this. >> it does have a portrait of america at a particular time. and i think paramount was unique, maybe because of expediency, just wanting to get to the point. they did not really have a filter. so you really do get the sense of a much more representative view of what america sounded like, in all of its multitudes. >> a point of musical history, did the blues get hijacked by rock 'n roll? >> rock 'n roll is the blues in
a different rpm. >> not 78. >> all modern music, to me, is the blues. >> really? >> i feel that way. i think it is that important. the blues hijacked music. >> and it has been better because of it. >> i think so. if you talk to people who are into sheet music, people who are composers, it is still to this day hard, if you wrote a song, even the beatles, a song that is so important to the world, is not given the same respect as beethoven. i think that is a strange thing. but this is the people speaking, not someone who has been trained or a prodigy.
this is the people speaking. the blues was not only the people, these were not big bands with a trained singer. this is, we are dropping the needle and this is a person from blah, blah, mississippi, we have five minutes, go. that is america in a nutshell. >> this is the go weevil blues. here it is. ♪ ♪ hey, bo-weevil, don't sing the blues no more ♪ ♪ hey, bo-weevil, don't sing the
blues no more ♪ ♪ bo-weevil, everywhere you go >> you once said i think the blues is sort of like the physical pain your brain gives your stomach when someone leaves you and is not coming back. have you felt the blues? >> i think what you were saying before, when the blues finally came into existence, nobody knows when it started, but it seems like a 20th century phenomenon. this is the first time humans are actually singing out loud their own story about their own pain. instead of somebody else writing a grand piece with 40 people involved. this is a single individual. women playing their own guitar.
accompanying themselves in the 1920's. playing by themselves, the black male version of the blues, one man and one guitar, his own story. the whole world hears it. or has the possibility. anybody who is feeling any kind of pain, which is everybody on earth, has a chance to relate to this intimately. that story probably is your own story. i'm glad you picked bo-weevil, every musician seem to cover that song and give their own version. hers is really slow compared to others. leadbelly was able to sell that to a bigger audience, almost like a standard. like this land is your land, in a way. but still the pain is there for people to put into their own persona.
>> there is another one, which you requested. "i want jesus to talk to me." >> paramount would record anything as long as they thought that there was a group of people who might like it. they might be somebody in carolina who would buy the record. religious music, christian music. whatever we can get. artist, like "i want jesus to talk to me," this shows you that this is an evil sounding song. not a happy religious song he would sing on sunday. it sounds evil and by the time he is finished, it has transcended into something beautiful. i can't imagine the people that recorded it knew what they recorded.
i think they moved on and thought it was something novel. >> hard to imagine who the intended audience was for this kind of anguished cry. we were talking about this yesterday. my mentor, john fahey, he thought of songs like this, he said i'm not sure if i am hearing the beating of angels' wings or the cloven hoof beating out time. it has that quality. what did i listen to? all i can tell is it is a wail, a wailing. it would be great to have a listen. >> homer quincy smith. ♪ ♪ i want jesus to talk with me ♪ i want jesus to talk with me
♪ lord, i want jesus to talk with me ♪ >> just evil. >> i can't imagine a religious person hearing grandma listening to this record. >> the title, "i want jesus to talk to me." >> by the end, he is just wailing in pain almost. it is just beautiful. it covers 15 things about america, the religious side of things, the southern side of things, the capitalism of this company wanting to sell records and people think this is
religious music. we will sell it to them. does not matter. >> somebody says i want some of that. what do they do? >> well, there has been releases of paramount throughout the decades. collectors have found the hard to find discs. it was just an idea to get together a set that you could dive into the entire world and absorb it all. we are selling these through the website and at record stores and everywhere. >> my understanding is that you have all kinds of people that are going to define america. >> yeah, i guess -- third man records was started five years ago. this year i took off from touring to dedicate to archival projects we could get involved with. this being the biggest one of the year. we also partnered with sun records.
and document records out of europe and re-releasing their collections and trying to make this more available. when i was a teenager, i had to look for blues records in vintage bins. you could not easily get them. you could not get them and kmart or whatever. you had to go looking for them. i want to make it more appealing. the design aspect is just a trick. the melodies and the songs are a trick. the cover of the album is a trick. it is all to get you to go down to the store and get you involved in the story. >> my friend t-bone burnett, who you know and love, said digital sound has dehumanized us and taken away so much of what we hear without telling us. >> he is correct. the downfall in technology in
the 1980's with digital equipment really saturated music with really bad feelings and tones. >> there is a story about analog versus digital. with analog, if you record, you are dragging the pencil across the table. digital is this, it does not matter how many samples, there is empty space. some people think it is psychologically fatiguing. the idea is the suspect is in this table, somebody think that is recording sound. if i scratch the table, it could record what we are talking about. so when i listen to analog recordings and digital recordings, they do not have any warmth or romance to them. a lot of that is to do with the mechanics.
once we get away from mechanics and mechanical things, things that turn that we can watch, we lose romance. you can sing about an old phonograph. phonograph blues, like robert johnson. ipod blues? nothing romantic about that. >> you feel the same way about vinyl. >> it is the best format music was attached to. the music is in there mechanically. you can retrieve it with a needle. you can put it in a cup and this into that music. that is amazing. i don't think it was bested by anything else. it may be more portable. i have an ipod in my car. but portability does not mean better sound. >> but it does mean portability and access. that is important. >> we did not want to be anti- technology with this thing. how else are you going to deliver 800 tracks to people?
>> the last time you were here, you are not a solo artist. tell me about your evolution. >> as a musician? >> personal. i do not get you but once every eight years. [laughter] i'm getting all of i can out of this conversation. >> i work every day. every day of my life. it is a privilege to be able to think of myself as an artist and a creator and i do not take it lightly. it is not an excuse to wake up at 2:00 in the afternoon. every day i create something and i'm always putting them out under different names or ideas. whether i am producing or directing or writing or performing, it does not matter to me. all of my albums could be called whatever, john doe.
it does not matter the name on it. i want to make something that did not exist before. sometimes i have fun with how it is resented or recorded or whatever. but all that matters to me is making something that did not exist. >> so what has changed? >> my ability to do things i could not do when i was younger. i used to think, you know, if i had a record label it would be nice to be able to do this and this. now i have one and we can to a set like this. i think dean feels the same way from his standpoint. if you are able to make something exists that did not, you are really connecting with the entire human race. you are giving to them. you are not taking. >> was it inevitable you would always be solo? >> i don't know. maybe i was always solo. that was the beginning of the freedom, to be allowed to be an
artist like that. painters had been able to do it before. >> this decision, you made to go solo. >> i don't think anybody who thrives on creativity, you are not looking to put yourself in a place where somebody else does you what to do. you are looking for a way to tell your own, do it your own way. >> great to meet you, dean. much success with revenant records. don't make it so long next time. dean blackwood, jack white. back in a moment. stay with us. ♪
are walking back in the same direction but you are not. >> the new york times has called him a titan of sculpture. i call him one of the great artists of our time. he is known for his abstract steel sculptures. recently he has been thinking about the intimate ways people experience his art. a new exhibition reveals a new direction in his work. it is on view at the 21st and the 24th street location and will be there in till january 25. i am pleased to have once again richard serra at this table. welcome. nice to have you here. is this a new direction for you? >> it is a new body of work. it has precedence in some early work. but if you work a lot, what happens is that as the sequences unfold, new forms come out of old pieces. i felt after doing a lot of
pieces, it was time to push it in another direction. this is a new body of work. >> like being in a cemetery. >> one piece. but that had a president in pieces i had done earlier. another piece that dealt with the blocks you walked in between. 21st read, all of the pieces and 24th street are linear? >> is there something to the idea, you wanted us to experience an intimacy with the work? >> 21st street, you enter into a path in the past reveals two enclosures and then you walk outside and there are two enclosures. but those pieces are not transparent. you have to find your way through them. everything on 24th street is transparent.
you can see it all. there is no hierarchy. you can enter any way you want. >> i will ask this question, where are you in terms of the evolution of your thinking about sculpture and what you hope to achieve? >> what i want to do, if i can, is exceed my own language. that is difficult because you have things you have done and what happens is as solutions occur, the form changes. but you have to go through various solutions before that happens. i really wanted to clear the deck and i wanted to up the thickness of the scale and do what i had done before. there is a new piece where the plates are eight inches thick and they are 10 feet high and 40 feet long. we are into like 380, a lot of weight.
the others are nine inches thick and they are different length and height. 7, 11, and 9. >> so we should experience both, both with the idea of what the sculpture says to us as it sits there and as we move around it. and at the same time we should look at the forward reach of the artist in achieving something this massive. how does he or she do it? >> physically? with the large piece, the six angle piece, i actually set it up in new jersey to make sure i knew what i was doing. you do not want to order tonnage like that and not know what you are about. it took a great deal of precision to get it into the
floor and at one point we had to dig up the floor because of hurricane sandy to make sure the slab was still stable underneath. there is a lot of preparatory procedures that go into putting these pieces together. >> is this more than mechanics and engineering? >> the result is but a lot of getting something into production has to do with the process of how you do what. the what of how you receive it through your experience is something else. >> that is the job of the sculpture. >> you have to get them in place, you have to make them reveal what you intend. >> is engineering changing in terms of what you can do and what we can learn because of
computers and images and all of that? >> in terms of the bending and process the plates, that has changed since the computers. that has changed in the last 10 years. the pieces on 24th street, the flat pieces, that the technology has not changed. very few people would deal with eight inch plates, you do not find that in industry. people do not do that. there is no need for that. >> i see. >> no need to produce anything like that without having to retool it and form it into a nose cone or something else. i am using it as it comes and making it into a form to serve my need as a sculpture. it has no useful purpose in industry. >> are you going to work in something other than steel? >> i just did a show, plastic pieces of paper that were very small,
20 inches wide and 30 inches high. 12 of them. which i spent six months doing. very small work. i put a great deal of effort into it. i do not only do arch work. i do a lot of drawings. >> you are defined by a large work. >> that is because of the public. i draw all of the time. >> and take pride in that as well. >> yes. it is a different body of work. it has a different involvement for me. >> are you in a good place in terms of artistic light? >> yes, i needed to do a new show. i needed a new body of work. if you ask i feel good about it, i feel great about it. particularly the seven plate piece. >> i loved it. everything about it.
i love how it oxidized. the color is stunning. >> that is because it has not been sandblasted. i will keep them indoors. i do not want them to oxidize. i like them the way they are. very rarely do you get that kind of scale that is completely tied like that. other properties have a blue-grayscale. i'm going to keep them that way if i can. i'm not going to store them outside. >> would they change indoors? >> over time that it will take eight or 10 years or even more. then they have to rest again. >> what would happen if i put water on it? >> they would rust. it would take them eight years to turn dark brown, and then they would cease. the nature is to form a skin and it does not oxidize any longer.
>> if you are richard serra, are you competing against yourself? >> it is a little contrary to fact, i am richard serra. of course i'm competing against myself. sure. not only against yourself, or against everybody who came before you and after you. you are born at a certain moment into a continuum and where you enter that history has a lot to do with what you do, who came before you and who comes after you. everyone is born into a different continuum. everybody enters into the kind of overturn of art history. so i came out of the mid-20th century and of the turn-of-the-century you had picasso. >> you began life as a painter. >> as an english major making drawings. i was a painter at yale, but
after europe i experimented with stuffed animals and that took me into a different direction. >> what direction? >> the direction of formulating processes with rubber. rubber led me to steel. steel, as a kid i knew a lot about it. more than most sculptors because it had been used in the industry revolution and i understood its building potential. >> that gave you an edge on other sculptors? >> i don't know about an edge. >> therefore you could do more things. >> if you look at the history of sculpture, most people would cut it and folded as a pictorial plane. i used it for its weight and its equilibrium, in stasis, density, and gravity is a forest.
in engineering gravity is not used because it has a tendency to overturn so i started using things that were not fastened, were not stitched or welded. that was a different way of approaching sculpture. >> take a look at some of these things so you know what we are talking about. the first image is grief and reason. we will talk about it. 2013. tell me about that. pictures do not do justice to sculpture. >> that is right. they are about six feet by three feet. in the same block on the top is on the bottom and then reversed. it probably has, almost a symbolic form in the reading. it could go back to a sarcophagus.
on grief and reason, it is a robert frost poem about a wife looking at a burial mound. her husband is at the bottom of the steps wondering why she does not talk to him and where she goes when she leaves. there is an implied double sadness in the fact she is looking at her lost son and a friend of mine had just died while i was building this piece. so i called it for walter, so it not only connects to that no one, and the poem is called "home burial." >> the next piece, it is hard to see. >> the plates are eight inches thick. eight feet high and 40 feet long and they are freestanding. you walk into different corners
and the corners probably go from 11 feet apart to 33 feet apart. the angles are open enclosures. the compression varies as you walk into it. there is few times when you are asked to walk into a corner. when you walk into these corners, some of them compress the space. it is somewhat claustrophobic. others are complete relief. it is like walking into spaces that compress you and then open up. >> the next one is more detailed. >> it is hard to get an overview. it takes up the entire gallery. it is about 60 by 100. >> intervals, 2013. this is the one i was talking about. it looks like a cemetery. >> i don't think so. >> people have said that.
>> when you walk through, it kind of brackets you from the shoulders. you are either looking at other people and it deals with elevations as she walked in and around it. there is space 42 inches apart and they go from four feet to six feet high. there is no hierarchy of terms of where you enter or exit. >> the next one is more detailed. >> it is dense and compacted. i have a fondness of this piece. i had done earlier pieces that were more open and more about a horizontal cut into the field. this is more about the psychological presence you feel in the room. maybe that is why you related it to a cemetery. >> but you want, at what you want us to do is feel something we have not felt before. >> yes.
>> some experience of our own. >> any work of art, what happens if you are open to seeing it, you probably have a sensation. that leads to an experience. that experience is probably private and deals with your background, where you were born, what you have been exposed to in life, and it will lead to other ways about thinking about other things. an easy metaphor for this one if you're going to say cemetery is that. when people walk among it, that is not what they tell me. they tell me they feel the weight of the room, somebody told me they felt weak in the knees. the compression of the space. a lot of people, a composer told me he thought it was musical. you never know what people are going to tell you. if the work is open enough, it
it can provide a multiplicity of experiences anybody can enter into and find something, if they do not have a bias about what they are looking at. a lot of people come to work and are not willing to see it. if you come with a judgment, you are not going to see anything. >> that is true of all of art. you have to become willing to experience it and not have a judgment or a restraint on how you're going to feel. >> people go to museums and still have a pre-judgment about, that can't be art. you take a painter who does all white paintings, if you listen to some people, they are not going to give them the benefit of the doubt. they do not want to call it art. they refused to open their eyes and look at what is in front of them. you know, there is also a
suspicion if you don't know about art and you do not give yourself the benefit of the doubt, you will be suspicious that the artist is foisting something over on you. that remains. >> does not make it good art. just art. >> i do not think that is why people -- >> nobody's talking about that. we are talking -- we have been here before. everybody has been here. the idea of what is art and what were schaefer raised in the "60 minutes" piece. suppose i go to a canvas -- >> go back to where you are on this piece. it reminded you of a cemetery. that is closing off your ability to see other ways of reasoning and seeing the piece. >> it reminded me of a circus.
in other words, it closes me off to anything else? >> that is already laying a definition on it you have freestanding plates. when you give it time, i do not think that comes across. that is not my intention. >> what is your intention? >> to have people participate in the rhythm of the intervals of the intersections of the pieces as they move through them. >> what if i participated in the spaces and i came out saying it makes me feel like a cemetery? >> there is no signage. in a cemetery there is always signage. >> signage meaning here lies so-and-so. >> yes. this is not symbolic of anybody. cemeteries are about what is
under the ground. they mark a place where somebody has been interred. this is not that. >> i was talking about what it is i see, not how i project what is under the ground. >> these things are freestanding. stones in cemetery are not. >> did somebody write this is a cemetery and you did not like it? >> i'm just trying to answer your perception of my work. >> who do you know that has a better appreciation of your work? let me go on to this. >> different people see work differently. >> exactly. why can they see it anyway they want to? >> they can. >> but if they see it a certain way, they are limiting themselves. >> i think. >> they are limiting themselves rather than --
>> work is tagged with a moniker that does not allow people to see -- >> we are not talking about anybody else. we are talking about one person. >> there are works they get tagged with monikers and people can't see it any other way. the headline of the journalism has tagged it. that happens all the time. >> so what is this? >> that is a bridge. >> a bridge! really. i thought it was a piece of art with ceramic and glass and paper. >> the paper is a bridge. >> if you do that, you are limiting yourself. >> for sure it is a glass -- >> for sure that is steeled together. >> you asked how i see it. is this art?
>> if you say it is. >> that is the definition. i just created this. >> i will say it is your art if you say it is your art. we have to compare it to every other work of art -- >> then we are in trouble. anything else we need to see? counterweight one and two. >> what is interesting about those plates as they are the same dimension. the plates that are horizontal are the same as the one set of vertical. they are five inches thick against the wall. there is no fixed joint. the stand against each other. it is if you took a piece of plywood and cut it in half and put the top on the bottom. and it stood there. that one actually came at 3:00 in the morning. i woke up and thought, i think that will work. i got up and did it. >> right then.
>> it was cold and i did not want to go downstairs. >> artists succumbing to creature comforts. >> that work did occur in the middle of the night. i thought, i wonder if i can do this. >> had you been thinking about it? >> no, sometimes you think about a lot of things that are possible and then you take them off the table where they fall to a different part of your brain. and for some reason they come up. what is interesting about the brain discussions we had before, i think there is a part of the brain that deals with intuition, emotion, and experience and i think that if i look at this last show, the reason these pieces came about was i really wanted to get away from the linear things i was doing and i allowed myself a greater freedom
in terms of intuitively wanting to move into a ziggurat space. but only one piece against the wall. that was something i had not done. to do it with eight inch plates that are 51 tons each, that was a big move for me to make. you could say, those are just big plates that i ordered. so what? for me to order a plate of that size, i had built an earlier piece which was higher, 10 feet high and 30 feet long and eight inches thick. and i liked it a lot. i did not know how i could extend it and then i thought, i could make the plate 40 feet long. a little lower. i can probably put together a
complex of spaces that would be interesting. i was interested in freestanding plates like that. >> do you think you might have an influence on painters? >> on architects, for sure. on painters, i don't know. >> who you do not consider artists. >> architects? let's not go there. >> i'm still a mischievous little boy. i'm really interested in this. in the push of art, how you are influenced by painting, the work you do -- >> i was also influenced by donatello, everything i come across. and i try to suck it all up. i am a vacuum cleaner. i look at all of it. everything. i have always done that. >> do you aggregate -- >> when i was at yale, i went through every book in the art history library. so that interests me.
>> taking something away from all of them. >> you try. >> assimilate it. >> it becomes, you are responsible for that history. art does not come from nowhere. it comes out of art. out of the art that has been done before. you are just another stone in the wall. if you make a contribution, you are lucky. >> clearly you are lucky. so what next? >> i don't know. i'm going to take a deep breath. >> you are not slowing down for a second. >> i am off to qatar. i have two museum shows and something else i am doing. >> you can tell me what it is? >> i'm not sure it is going to happen. >> i was -- i don't know why i don't have pictures of the linear stuff, which i loved.
anybody with a little bit of knowledge would say, richard serra, unmistakably richard serra. wouldn't they? >> by now, yes. >> it is just whether they have ever seen it before. >> yes, i have done a lot of linear pieces. this is probably the largest. >> you can't walk inside of that without feeling a range of emotions. >> yes, i would think. >> believe me, it is true. great to have you here. always great to have you. the new sculpture on 21st street between 10th and 11th and 24th street, the new gallery. it will be there in till january 25, 2014.
>> live from pier 3 in san francisco, welcome to the late edition of "bloomberg west," where we cover the global technology and media companies that are reshaping our world. i'm jon erlichman in for emily chang. our focus is on innovation, technology, and the future of business. let's get straight to "the rundown." the news goes from bad to worse for target as the retail giant says encrypted pin numbers were also stolen during that massive data bh.